So What do you do when your software provider goes out of business?
Times are certainly tough, and this economy is unforgiving. Companies that aren’t prepared for long stints between sales will suffer the consequences. This has been very clear in the transportation industry, and even the suppliers are feeling the effect.
Business Management Software looks to be another victim of this merciless economic downturn, now halfway through its fourth year. Their website is down, and emails to the company bounce back. One can only imagine the events that led to the decision to shutter the business. Did they go bankrupt? Was there a personal reason? The life of an entrepreneur is filled with highs and lows, but the lows have been strong and steady lately.
So what happens to the software customers when their provider goes belly up? How do they get support questions answered? What happens when the software breaks? These are very good questions and often times the answers aren’t so clear. In lots of cases, smaller technology companies get bought up by a competitor who wants to expand their base. The purchasing company may support the acquired system for a while, but eventually the goal will be to convert that customer base to their technology. In this scenario at least existing customers are not left in the dark to fend for themselves. They have some period of warning to either convert to the newer system or find a replacement on their own.
For smaller companies without an attractive customer base or technology worth selling, the end of the line can be more abrupt leaving their customers wondering what happened. Support calls go unanswered and websites disappear making it seem as if the company simply vanished. In these cases customers must act fast to find a replacement technology before their current system is no longer operable. Doing their homework to investigate other providers on a regular basis will soften the sting of this process. Without good knowledge of the other providers and technology, the task to find a new system never comes at a convenient time. Shopping for a new software system is a daunting task, especially for those who aren’t naturally comfortable discussing their technology needs.
At the end of the day it is always good practice to keep abreast of other providers, especially for something as vital as your business software. Transportation professionals specialize in contingency plans every day for their normal operations, and they should be equally diligent in a contingency plan for their technology system. The only person who is mad when it rains is the one who doesn’t keep an umbrella in the car.